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Chamber Blog

Creating the Safest, Smartest Environment to Protect Lives & Livelihoods

Creating the Safest, Smartest Environment to Protect Lives & Livelihoods

The Grand Rapids Chamber Government Affairs team is pursuing every potential avenue to help West Michigan businesses survive, and if possible, thrive during the pandemic.

We remain focused on creating the safest, smartest environment possible to protect lives and livelihoods. This means clarifying rules and enforcement, protecting unemployment, getting business liability legislation passed and more.

If you have questions or input on how government decisions impact your business, please reach out to your Chamber Government Affairs team so we can be effective advocates for you.

Recently, Chamber policy successes at the state level include advocating for $27M for the Going Pro Talent Fund, getting a tri-share pilot for childcare innovation approved, passing expungement legislation to reduce barriers for returning citizens and successfully advocating for the safe opening of more business sectors. At the local level, we have been leading on social districts and a comprehensive COVID Ordinance for the City of Grand Rapids to support a strong recovery.

Following the Michigan Supreme Court’s opinion upending Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders, we continue to monitor and advocate for the safe and appropriate reopening of all sectors. We need and remain hopeful that our legislative leaders and the Governor will work together better to address the challenges we all face.

Going forward, the Grand Rapids Chamber is advocating for the following:

  1. Businesses need clarity, consistency, and transparency on decisions made. There should be clear communication with our business community on decisions that affect their bottom line. When decisions are consistent and there is transparent communication between citizens and government, our state benefits.
  2. All industries should be allowed to be open under practical guidelines if possible. Industries have been resilient during this unprecedented time, adapting to overcome barriers while keeping their employees and customers safe. We urge decision makers to incorporate all industry types, and not pick winners and losers. Businesses of all types and sizes have proven that they are flexible and deserve to be a part of Michigan’s recovery.
  3. Going forward, we must be precise on how we control outbreaks. Our health experts have learned a good deal about the virus and how to control outbreaks, and it is important to lean on this knowledge for a very targeted approach when outbreaks occur versus shutting down entire industries or areas.
  4. Continue to utilize best practices, informed by data, to protect our citizens. Our knowledge about the virus, how to protect our citizens, and best practices have greatly developed over the past several months. The health and safety protocols we know reduce spread – including hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks in public – should still be the norm. These practices ensure that business can continue to operate safely and should be incorporated.

Our work is member-driven! If you have questions or input, please contact Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs at andy@grandrapids.org.

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